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TCU Baseball vs UTA: Game Preview

Highly-touted freshman Russell Smith will make his TCU debut tonight, hopefully, as the Frogs host the Mavericks at Lupton.

TCU Baseball vs Long Beach State 2.24.18 (G2)
TCU Baseball vs Long Beach State 2.24.18 (G2)
Melissa Triebwasser

TCU Horned Frogs (4-2) vs University of Texas Arlington (3-2) | Location: Lupton Stadium | Series: 101-58-1 (TCU)

Tuesday Feb. 27th | 6:30 p.m. | Mavericks All Access | 88.7 KTCU | Russell Smith (0-0) vs. Daniel Moffatt (0-1)

TCU travels to the middle of the metroplex tonight to face off with the UTA Mavericks, the first of three games between this season scheduled. The first meeting was supposed to be the Frogs’ home opener, but torrential downpours caused the game to be rescheduled. The Frogs did get some games in at Lupton over the weekend though, taking two out of three against Long Beach State, including splitting a double header Saturday. TCU got a nice weekend from Josh Watson - who continues to be red hot out of the gate - and a bevy of relief pitchers who threw 10.1 scoreless innings over the three game set. Cal Coughlin, Haylen Green, and Jake Eissler shined, and while Durbin Feltman allowed three hits in his lone appearance, he got the outs he needed to keep the Dirtbags off the board.

UTA is hitting .262 as a team with seven doubles, four triples and one home run through their first five games. After dropping their opening series to Corpus Christi, the Mavs swept a pair from SFA, winning the second game in extra innings. Junior outfielder Phil Berthiaume leads the team with a .444 average, but has missed the last few games with an injury, but four other Mavs are hitting over .300 in the early goings, including RJ Williams (.350). Omar Salinas leads the team with eight RBI, and is hitting .286.

The Mavs struggled from the bump, with an ERA of 4.70 as a unit, rising a bit from opening weekend. They had just 21 strikeouts and walked 19 through their first three games, while Frog pitchers had 55 Ks and just 16e walks on their way to a 2.86 ERA.

TCU will turn to true freshman Russell Smith, a 6’9”, 250 pound lefty who was rated the as the 39th best prospect in the state after his senior season. Smith may remind you of former Frog pitcher Brian Howard in height, but the former Midlothian flame thrower comes in much more polished than Howie was when he first stepped foot on campus. He also has the advantage of throwing to his friend and former teammate Zach Humphreys, which should give him a level of comfort in his first career collegiate start. With four pitches, including a fastball that he can run up into the mid-90’s, the future is bright for the young star.

Russell will face off with another true freshman in Moffat, who has been the Mavericks best pitcher so far. While he is just 0-1, his 1.69 ERA in 5.1 innings is among the team’s best. A native of Wichita Falls, the right handed Moffat stands 6’0” and weighs 170 pounds. He appears to be the real deal, and will be a good test for a TCU lineup that has hit well through the first two weeks of the season, but is vulnerable to high strikeout numbers as well.

Keys to the Game

  • RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY

I mean, honestly, will this game even get played?

  • Patience at the Plate

The Frogs are always at their best when they work free bases, something they showcased in games two and three this weekend. Whether it’s taking one for the team or working a count in your favor, when the Frogs draw free passes, they are really good at turning them into runs.

  • Run Like the Wind

TCU is just 5-10 in stolen bases this year, a frightening number for fans used to seeing them steal bags seemingly at will. Some have been really bad decisions, others have been really great throws, but in the end - something just isn’t working so far. You can’t tell a Jim Schlossnagle team to not be aggressive, but the Frogs are going to maybe be a little choosier when it comes to when they run.

More Notes From Go Frogs:

TCU NOTABLES

• TCU made it 2-for-2 in series victories with a 2-1 series win over Long Beach State this past weekend.

• TCU continues to be ranked in the top 10 in all but one poll after opening the season 4-2.

• Wednesday will mark TCU’s first midweek contest of the season after last week’s game was postponed.

• The bullpen tossed 10 1/3 scoreless innings over the weekend and boasts a 1.12 ERA this season.

• Defensively, the Frogs committed just one error on the weekend, raising their fielding percentage to .975.

• TCU’s offense has tallied double-digit hits in four of six games this year.

Josh Watson (.429) and Adam Oviedo (.391) have hit safely in all six games this season.

• Oviedo’s .391 average ranks 20th among all freshmen in the NCAA.

Luken Baker stretched his reached base safely streak to 34 games dating back to last year.

Durbin Feltman is inching closer to the school career record for saves with his 28th on Sunday. He needs just five more to own the record.

UT ARLINGTON NOTABLES

• UT Arlington swept a two-game series against Stephen F. Austin in a rescheduled series over the weekend.

• Both wins over the Lumberjacks were by one run, including an extra-inning victory on Monday.

• As a team, the Mavericks are hitting .262 with 12 extra base hits.

• Phil Berthiaume (.444) and R.J. Williams (.350) are off to hot starts at the plate.

• Omar Salinas led the team with seven RBIs, while Noah Vaughan connected on the team’s first home run on Monday.

• On the mound, the Mavericks used 12 pitchers and posted a combined ERA of 4.70.

• Defensively, the Mavericks committed just five errors, leading to four unearned runs.

SERIES NOTABLES

• The Horned Frogs and the Mavericks will be meeting for the 162nd time on Tuesday.

• TCU holds a 101-58-1 edge in the all-time series.

• TCU has won three straight dating back to 2017.

• Wednesday is the first of three meetings between the two teams in 2018. TCU will host two of the games.

• TCU won all three meetings last season, 7-2 (Feb. 21), 5-4 at UTA (April 4) and 6-1 (May 16).

• Since 2004, the Frogs are 27-7 against UTA.

• UT Arlington is 5-16 all-time at Lupton Stadium.

• TCU and UT Arlington have played every season since 1969.

HOME NOTABLES

• TCU will play 31 games at home this season.

• TCU went 28-4 at home last season.

• Under the guidance of Jim Schlossnagle, TCU is 338-106 in games played at Lupton Stadium.

• TCU is 113-23 at home over the last three-plus seasons.

• TCU ranked 10th nationally in average attendance this year with an average of 4,785.